UPDATE: Both bills failed to be reported out of committee by March 28, 2019 and were not debated during this year’s legislative session.
In the wake of the Illinois Supreme Court decision that held that claimants need only allege a procedural violation to have standing to bring an action under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) and the continued wave of BIPA-related litigation, the Illinois legislature is considering an amendment to BIPA that would strip the statute of its private right of action. SB2134, as currently written, would amend BIPA by deleting the private right of action and instead provide for enforcement under the Department of Labor (for violations concerning employment-related biometric data collection) or generally by the state attorney general under the state’s consumer protection statute. The end result would be a statute similar to Texas and Washington’s biometric privacy bills which may only be enforced by the respective state attorney general. [Note: There is also another BIPA amendment pending, HB3024, which would expand the definition of “biometric identifier” to include “an electrocardiography result from a wearable device” in an effort to keep up with the latest technologies].
This is not the first time the Illinois legislature has considered changes to BIPA (see here and here), so we will have to watch to see if the bill moves through the chamber. It is currently in committee (however, SB2134 is denoted as having a procedural deadline of March 28, 2019 for the committee to report the bill). We will keep an eye on it, as well as other legislative debate in other states on biometric privacy bills.